– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch
Souraj dhiraj tehi rath chaaka,
Satyaseel dhruda dhwaja pataka
Bal bibek dam parahit khore
Chama krupa samata raju jore
Compassion is the second rope of the chariot
When Vivekananda travelled all over India, he was saddened to see the plight of majority of the Indian population. He had seen so much sorrow that he couldn’t stop thinking how the people could be uplifted. He had no other thought in mind. It was his compassion towards his countrymen that made him work, the great work of Awakening Indians to India. He could have sat in some Himalayan cave and meditated over the knowledge what he gained from his Master and through his own contemplation. But his compassion for others, didn’t allow him to do so.
Once, when Swami Chinmayananda saw river Ganga flowing down to the plains, he thought – how cheerfully the Ganga flows down to the plains for serving the humanity! It is then he got a thought that he should come down from the Himalayas and share the knowledge he learnt from his master, Swami Tapovan Maharaj, with the common man who’s devoid of the knowledge of the scriptures and lives a mechanical and pathetic material life. For him, there was no need to come down from the lap of the majestic Himalayas and work tirelessly for 41 years. Yet, he did it, for the sake of the common man. That is compassion.
Compassion is the quality of a very strong person. Weak ones cannot think about others. They can only think about themselves or at the most their own family members. Only the brave ones can think and work for the welfare of others, expecting nothing, gaining nothing…working only for others’ good.
In Lakshmanopadesha (Upadesha – advice, to Lakshman) of Adhyatma Ramayana, Lord Rama patiently advises to the angry Lakshmana who’s fuming with hatred for their own father because of whom Rama had to leave to the forest. Rama is compassionate towards Lakshmana because Rama knows that Lakshmana is angry only because of his ignorance. And ignorance is not a crime. Most of us get annoyed when we see people performing wrong actions. It’s because we see them doing bad things but we do not realize ‘Why are they acting in such a way?’ Is it not due to their ignorance?
Great men are able to forgive because they are compassionate towards everyone. They are fully convinced that the Self that shines in them is the same as the Self that shines in others. In reality, every person is good. People behave in a wrong way only out of ignorance. The root cause of every incorrect action is ignorance.
Compassion comes out of understanding…understanding why a person acts so. Our minds get disturbed by someone else’s actions only because we are unable to understand them, or rather, find out a logical reason why they are doing this. At such instances, if we put across this question to ourselves that ‘What is the reason for his conduct’ and keep thinking over it, we will arrive at a conclusion where we find that the other person acted out of his ignorance. Had he possessed the right knowledge, he would definitely have behaved well. All the negative traits we come across – ego, rudeness, jealousy, greed, pride, etc; are born out of ignorance only.
Ignorance is the root cause of all misery. Understanding it, is first step of the cure. Once we understand, then compassion comes automatically. If we are able to be compassionate towards others, then we can accommodate more people in our life.